Did you know there are more bacteria in our body than red blood cells? In fact bacteria out weigh all other cells in the body by a factor of 10:1. That is a lot of bacteria. Together the over 100 trillion bacteria in our gut can weigh up to 3 lbs. Unfortunately bacteria has often been given a bad rap and is not well understood by the general public except when illness is reported from e-coli or salmonella. There is a commonly held belief that all bacteria are bad for you. Evidence of this can be seen through the advertisements of anti-bacterial soaps. It would seem that bacteria should be feared. This is far from the truth. Bacteria are essential for a healthy internal environment and without it we would not be alive. It is the bacteria in our gut that help:
- Breakdown foods for proper digestion
- Assist us in detoxification
- Support our immune system
- Make B Vitamins in the intestines and help absorb minerals
- Maintain regular bowel movements
- Prevent allergies
- Protect against mircro-organisms that cause disease
In fact there is a strong line of research now showing how having an abundance of bacteria in our gut helps our brains function better. It has been shown to improve everything from mood to behavior. In some cases depression has even been helped from increasing the probitoics or healthy bacteria in our intestines. In reality the gut is a second brain. In fact, the same tissue that makes the brain also makes the gut in fetal development.
There are several sources that start to reduce the natural bacteria we need in our bodies such as:
- Chlorinated water
- Antibacterial soaps
- Agricultural chemicals
- A Highly acidic diet
The above elements create an internal environment for ill health to begin. As the body becomes more acidic the fluids create an environment for pathogens to survive. As our internal terrain becomes more polluted the healthful mirco-organisms such as bacteria will morph and change in order to survive in this new unhealthy environment. By themselves pathogens (bacteria, fungus and virus) are not bad. Their jobs are numerous such as performing janitorial clean up services for decaying tissue throughout the body. They help cells communicate properly and even protect our skin. It has been found that when an oil spill occurs in the ocean, the water becomes much more acidic and because of this nature then produces various forms of bacteria which start to help restore the imbalance that has occurred. Our bodies have similar functions. The importance of this is to understand that the human organism does not exist in isolation to the world around it. Regardless of what we believe, we are all closer to nature than we think. In fact, we are literally living with nature inside us, permeating our cells and accounting for more of us than ourselves.
Some foods that help promote healthy bacteria are found in fermented foods such as:
- Pickled vegetables
Getting good bacteria from live foods and probiotics is a key in having a healthy brain and healthy body.